Welcome to Western Mining History

Featured Mining Town: Empire, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Empire, Colorado

Settled in 1860, Empire is one of the oldest mining camps in Colorado. The town was the site of a local boom with the 1862 discovery of the Tenth Legion mine  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: St. Elmo, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: St. Elmo, Colorado

St. Elmo, originally named Forest City, was settled near the Mary Murphy Mine in the late 1870’s. The town thrived during the 1880’s as the local mines employed hundreds of men and were producing millions of dollars a year in gold and silver.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Marble, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Marble, Colorado

A world-class deposit of marble was discovered in a remote section of Colorado wilderness in 1873. The discovery was made at what would become known as the Crystal River Valley, one of Colorado's most spectacular locations. The town of Marble would be settled in the valley below the marble deposit, but not until many years later.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Silver City, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Silver City, Idaho

Silver City was at the center of one of the West's greatest silver discoveries. The ore deposits at Silver City were so rich that armed conflicts erupted over control of key mines.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Bayhorse, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Bayhorse, Idaho

Established in 1877, Bayhorse was the first major mining camp in central Idaho's Salmon River country. The silver mines at Bayhorse were rich, and the camp had a long history of development well into the 1900's. Today Bayhorse is a ghost town and is preserved as a state park.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Mullan, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Mullan, Idaho

Mullan was settled in 1884 near the discovery of significant silver deposits. The town still has an active mine, and is currently the site of the longest strike-related mine shutdown in Silver Valley history.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Wardner, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Wardner, Idaho

The town of Wardner was founded in 1885 at the site of the Bunker Hill mine, the Coeur d’ Alene Mining District's largest producer. In 1899, The non-union Bunker Hill mine was attacked by a large force of union miners, resulting in the destruction of the mill and office building.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Burke, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Burke, Idaho

Burke, Idaho was famous for being built in an impossibly narrow valley for a town site. Burke Canyon is just 300 feet wide, resulting in unprecedented and unusual building feats such as the Tiger Hotel that featured a railroad tunnel passing through the first floor.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Wallace, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, Idaho is the economic center of the Coeur d’ Alene Mining District, in a region known as the Silver Valley in northern Idaho. The Silver Valley is the most valuable silver mining district in the United States with over a billion ounces of silver mined, and is one of the top three most valuable silver districts in the entire world.   Continue Reading

Ten Things to Do in Virginia City, Nevada

Fourth Ward School in Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada is one of the most historically significant and best-preserved mining towns in the West. The town is #2 on our list “The Top Ten Historic Mining Towns You Should Visit Today“, and while Butte may have edged it out for historical significance, Virginia City just might be the most fun and interesting  Continue Reading